Smoking With Girija Tropp

Read the Story December 15, 2005

Giants! Awesome! From where did they come?

Hotline to god, honest. Initially, the message was bumbled but with some writerly feedback and some deep thinking something was revealed.

How important is a central metaphoric image, such as the Giants, to your own writing—and flash in general?

Seems to me that in any given moment, people have a choice to be giants or not, like a state of mind, and this is said without judgement. What interests me is that in the struggle to be one or the other, you have the gray area, illusion, which is fodder for story.

Volvo sex. Hmm… What’s that like?

You’ll have to ask my son–we have only big transporter vehicles in our household–we are a family business, hospitality, and we were talking about an appropriate car for an !8 yr old and his younger brother (16) pipes in with his expert opinion about the scarcity of sex for drivers of Volvos. And then we had this discussion about Volvo sex–you’ve got to be like, over-forty.

Your bio hints as Australian root yes? What’s life like down under? What distinguishes Australian writing? Does your homestead share similarities with the setting here?

Oh boy, you’ll wish you hadn’t asked. I was born in Sri Lanka, went back and forth to India, brought up in Ghana (it used to be the Gold Coast) and then in Nigeria. My parents were teachers and they came to Australia when there was a big shortage of teachers in the early seventies. I love Melbourne. I grew up emotionally here. I hang out a lot with American writers online and this creates, for me, a kind of separation from home. Someone said to me that perhaps I shouldn’t submit to US magazines because Bush went into Iraq. It makes no sense because our Howard and Bush have been smoking the same drugs, you know. As for the homestead question, one of the things I notice from forging strong connections with other writers over the internet, is that people are up to the same things the world over, wrestling with the process of becoming giants!

A new year approaches (yikes!). So, what’s the best that 2005 had to offer in literature, web sites, music, movies, television, DVD, and the like? Also, any predictions for 2006? And we’d love to hear your New Year’s resolution.

Oh yes, my fav books have to be Dan Chaon’s You Remind me of me, Delia Falconer’s Lost thoughts of soldiers which seems to read like brilliant splashes of flash, and Haruki Murakami’s SSC After the Quake. In Music, there’s a gorgeous offering from local artists, tongue n groove’s ‘keep going’ , and Lhasa’s ‘The Living Road’; and movies, I thought you’d never ask… how about Kar Wai Wong’s 2046 which was sheer onscreen poetry, Almodovar’s “habla con ella’, and Ghibli Studios put out Howl’s Moving Castle, and for a homegrown must see — Look Both Ways. And I don’t watch television full stop, DVD yes… I fell in love with The Triplets of Belleville.

2006 is going to be a goodie; people are definitely going to get more peaceful and laidback; and children will be born singing.

New Year’s Resolution: I will have a first draft of another novel completed next year and I will also write so much microfiction that my head will get filled with blue cloud. And I’ll fill in my quarterly tax forms and itemise my spending on ink and paper without any bad feelings towards bureaucracy.

About the Author:

Girija Tropp's fiction has appeared in several Best Australian Short Stories editions. She has been published in The Boston Review, Agni, and various other journals. She has also won or been short-listed for major awards. Most recently, her flash fiction has appeared in New World Writing, and anthologised in Cafe Irreal and Smokelong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years. She lives in Australia.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.